2508. EBB to RB
As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 13, 196–197.
Monday morning [27 July 1846]
Ever dearest, your ‘Hush’ came too late—I had spoken. Do not blame me however,—for I do not blame myself– It was not very possible that I should allow your fine schemes, to lie unmolested by a breath– Nevertheless we will not carry on this discussion any farther: my simple protest is enough for the present,—& we shall have time I hope, in the future, for your nobleness to unteach itself from being too proud. At any rate, let the subject be, now!– I mentioned my ‘eldest surviving brother’ in that way in the paper, because he is put out of the question by the estates being entailed .. the Jamaica estates, I mean. And now, to have done! Unless I could make you easier—!
Dearest, you may come tomorrow, tuesday .. for my aunt goes out & we shall have a clear ground. Ah—can it be true that you wish me to be with you so—dearest, dearest? that you miss me as you say, the day after? Yet I am with you in my thoughts, in my affections, always– Let them count for something, that it may not be entirely an absence–
Bennett to Bennett. When Wilson brought up my coffee on the little tray on saturday, there was a Bennett ready on one corner. Then I must not forget to tell you how Mrs Paine (you remember Mrs Paine?) writes of you to me, .. speaking what she little knows the effects of. “I hope” she says, “that you admire Luria greatly. I dont know whether you will call it a sweeping conclusion, but I feel inclined to call Browning the greatest dramatic genius we have had for hundreds of years.” Can anybody be more than the ‘greatest’ to anybody? Half inclined I might be to be jealous of my prerogative of knowing you—yet no– Dearest is greater than Greatest .. even if one Greatest were not greater than another.
As to my headache, you might as well enquire about Troy– Fait. It was the air, perhaps—the heat or the cold .. the causes are forgotten with the effects. And, since I began this letter, I have been out with my aunt & Henrietta, the former having visits to pay in all the noisiest streets of the town, as appeared to me. The stone pavements seemed to accumulate on all sides to run to meet us, & I was stunned & giddy, & am so tired, that I shall finish my letter in a hurry, looking to tomorrow. We were out nearly three hours– Think of travelling three hours in a ‘Diligence’ with a Clap of Thunder! It may be something like that! And as we were coming homeward .. there, was Mr Kenyon!– He shook hands through the window & declared that he was on the point of paying a visit to me, holding up as a witness, his lump of sugar for Flush .. which Flush leapt from the other side of the carriage to accept, ‘ore rotundo’. Then the next word was .. “Did you see our friend B..” (pronounced Bee) “on saturday?” .. “No”, said I .. saying no for yes in the confusion .. “but I shall tomorrow”. “He dined with me” continued Mr Kenyon– The sound of which struck me into a fit of clairvoyance & I had to unsay myself with an “Oh yes—I did see him on saturday”– Mr Kenyon must have thought me purely stupid or foolish or something of the sort—& really I agree with him. To imagine my telling in that unsolicited way, too, both to my aunt & himself, that you were coming here tomorrow! So provoking!– Well—it cant be helped. He wont come tomorrow in any case.
And you will!– Dearest, how glad I am that you are coming!
Being your own Ba–
Address: Robert Browning Esqre / New Cross / Hatcham / Surrey.
Postmarks: 8Mg 1846 JY28 PD B; 10FN10 JY28 1846 E.
Dockets, in RB’s hand: 233.; + Tuesday, July 28. / 3–5¼.p.m. (81.) [sic, for 82].
Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 907–908.
Manuscript: Wellesley College.
1. Date provided by postmark.
2. See note 4 in the preceding letter.
3. EBB had first mentioned her correspondence with Caroline Paine in letter 2285 (see note 6).
5. With a “well-rounded mouth” (cf. Horace, Ars Poetica, line 323).